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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Mathematicall Praeface to Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara, by John Dee This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: The Mathematicall Praeface to Elements of Geometrie of Euclid of Megara Author: John Dee Release Date: July 13, 2007 [EBook #22062] Language: English Character set encoding: UTF-8 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MATHEMATICALL PRAEFACE ***
Produced by Louise Hope, David Starner, Suzanne Lybarger and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
The variation in text sizes is as in the original. In the printed book, all sidenotes were shown in the outer margin. For this e-text, they have been divided. Text sidenotes—including single numerals —are in the right margin; symbols are on the left, along with page numbers. The continuous quotation marks could not be reproduced, so they are shown as oversized open quotes “ and close quotes ” in the left margin. The original book did not have numbered pages. Instead it labeled all recto (right-side) pages, grouped into six eight-page signatures. The signatures themselves have an unusual sequence: (pointing finger); * (asterisk); a; b; c; A. The verso (left-side) pages were unmarked; they are identified here as ||. Thefinal pagewas an unnumbered foldout, about twice the size of a normal page. Unless otherwise noted, spelling and punctuation are unchanged. A few specific notes are givenat the end of the text, along with those passages ofEuclididentified by number.
Title Page Text
The Translator to the Reader.
Here is (gentle Reader) nothing (the word of God onely set apart) which so much beautifieth and adorneth the soule and minde of mã, as doth the knowledge of good artes and sciences: as the knowledge of naturall and morall Philosophie. The one setteth before our eyes, the creatures of God, both in the heauens aboue, and in the earth beneath: in which as in a glasse, we beholde the exceding maiestie and wisedome of God, in adorning and beautifying them as we see: in euin vnto them such wonderfull and manifolde
         proprieties, and naturall workinges, and that so diuersly and in such varietie: farther in maintaining and conseruing them continually, whereby to praise and adore him, as by S. Paule we are taught. The other teacheth vs rules and preceptes of vertue, how, in common life amongest men, we ought to walke vprightly: what dueties pertaine to our selues, what pertaine to the gouernment or good order both of an housholde, and also of a citie or common wealth. The reading likewise of histories, conduceth not a litle, to the adorning of the soule & minde of man, a studie of all men cõmended: by it are seene and knowen the artes and doinges of infinite wise men gone before vs. In histories are contained infinite examples of heroicall vertues to be of vs followed, and horrible examples of vices to be of vs eschewed. Many other artes also there are which beautifie the minde of man: but of all other none do more garnishe & beautifie it, then those artes which are called Mathematicall. Unto the knowledge of which no man can attaine, without the perfecte knowledge and instruction of the principles, groundes, and Elementes of Geometrie. But perfectly to be instructed in them, requireth diligent studie and reading of olde auncient authors. Amongest which, none for a beginner is to be preferred before the most auncient Philosopher EuclideofMegaraall others he hath in a true methode and. For of iuste order, gathered together whatsoeuer any before him had of these Elementes written: inuenting also and adding many thinges of his owne: wherby he hath in due forme accomplished the arte: first geuing definitions, principles, & groundes, wherof he deduceth his Propositions or conclusions, in such wonderfull wise, that that which goeth before, is of necessitie required to the proufe of that which followeth. So that without the diligent studie ofEuclidesElementes, it is impossible to attaine vnto the perfecte knowledge of Geometrie, and consequently of any of the other Mathematicall sciences. Wherefore considering the want & lacke of such good authors hitherto in our Englishe tounge, lamenting also the negligence, and lacke of zeale to their countrey in those of our nation, to whom God hath geuen both knowledge, & also abilitie to translate into our tounge, and to publishe abroad such good authors, and bookes (the chiefe instrumentes of all learninges): seing moreouer that many good wittes both of gentlemen and of others of all degrees, much desirous and studious of these artes, and seeking for them as much as they can, sparing no paines, and yet frustrate of their intent, by no meanes attaining to that which they seeke: I haue for their sakes, with some charge & great trauaile, faithfully translated into our vulgare toũge, & set abroad in Print, this booke ofEuclide. Whereunto I haue added easie and plaine declarations and examples by figures, of the definitions. In which booke also ye shall in due place finde manifolde additions, Scholies, Annotations, and Inuentions: which I haue gathered out of many of the most famous & chiefe Mathematicis, both of old time, and in our age: as by diligent reading it in course, ye shall well perceaue. The fruite and gaine which I require for these my paines and trauaile, shall be nothing els, but onely that thou gentle reader, will gratefully accept the same: and that thou mayest thereby receaue some profite: and moreouer to excite and stirre vp others learned, to do the like, & to take aines in that behalfe. B meanes wherof, our En lishe toun e
 TO THE VNFAINED LOVERS of truthe, and constant Studentes of Noble Sciences,IOHN DEEof London, hartily wisheth grace from heauen, and most prosperous successe in all their honest attemptes and exercises. IuinePlato, the great Master of many worthy Philosophers, and the constant auoucher, and pithy perswader ofVnum,Bonum, and Ens: in his Schole and Academie, sundry times (besides his ordinary Scholers) was visited of a certaine kinde of men, allured by the noble fame ofPlato, and the great commendation of hys profound and profitable doctrine. But when such Hearers, after long harkening to him, perceaued, that the drift of his discourses issued out, to conclude, thisVnum,Bonum, andEns, to be Spirituall, Infinite, Æternall, Omnipotent, &c. Nothyng beyng alledged or expressed, How, worldly goods: how, worldly dignitie: how, health, Strlustines of body: nor yet the meanes,gth or how a merueilous sensible and bodyly blysse and felicitie hereafter, might be atteyned: Straightway, the fantasies of those hearers, were dampt: their opinion ofPlato, was clene chaunged: yea his doctrine was by them despised: and his schole, no more of them visited. Which thing, his Scholer,Aristotle, narrowly cõsidering, founde the  hadcause therof, to be, For that the n no forwarn and information,
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The intent of this Preface.
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